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The already exhilarating film series cranks up the intensity in ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning’

by Gabriel Martinez
6 comments
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning

Given the fact that Tom Cruise has been previously depicted in the series hanging from an Airbus A400M and being thrown from a cargo plane at 25,000 feet, there’s a limit to how far an action film can stretch reality. However, in the relentlessly thrilling universe of “Mission: Impossible”, the challenge to constantly elevate the stakes – mirroring its perpetually active protagonist – is never-ending.

“After each film wraps up, Tom’s first words to me are: We can do more,” shares Christopher McQuarrie.

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McQuarrie, who directed 2015’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” and the franchise’s 2018 peak, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” was collaborating with Cruise on “Top Gun: Maverick ” (which McQuarrie co-wrote and co-produced) when they commenced discussions about their visions for the forthcoming “Mission: Impossible” instalment.

Their ambition was to create not one but two sequels: Consecutive spectacles featuring even grander stunts – Cruise envisaged a motorcycle jump blended with a skydive – and an epic train sequence that McQuarrie was eager to materialize. The exhilarating experience on “Maverick,” a pop-culture titan that raked in nearly $1.5 billion globally, only further bolstered their aspirations.

“Working on ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ provided us invaluable insights about character development and the overall emotional payoff of the film,” McQuarrie said in a recent interview. “Creating movies of this magnitude necessitates a focus on the emotional residue left with the audience after the film ends.”

One year post the box-office triumph of “Maverick”, McQuarrie and Cruise return with yet another spectacular display of daring feats. Mirroring “Maverick,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is a sophisticated action spectacle of traditional technique, packed with star power, practical effects, and stunt work designed to elicit exclamations of “Did he just do that?”

Moreover, this was their most challenging mission to date – and not just due to, as per Paramount Pictures, the 500 skydives and 13,000 motocross jumps that Cruise undertook in training for his monumental stunt. “Dead Reckoning” was on the brink of initiating production in Venice when COVID-19 cases started escalating in Italy, one of the earliest epicenters.

“Mission: Impossible” was amongst the initial major productions to be halted by the pandemic. Months later, Cruise and “Dead Reckoning” – a globally filmed $290 million film so intricately planned that it stirred controversy over initial plans to detonate a century-old bridge in Poland – led an industry-wide initiative to revive the film industry amidst the pandemic. An already high-tension production became even more strained. In December 2020, an audio recording was leaked featuring Cruise reprimanding two crew members for not adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

“We are the gold standard,” Cruise stated in the recording. “Back in Hollywood, they’re producing films at this very moment because of us. Because they have faith in us and what we’re accomplishing.”

Despite numerous setbacks and changes in plan, McQuarrie remains firm that “Dead Reckoning” was never in danger of not being completed.

“We continued moving forward because if you paused, if you endeavored to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’d arrive at a state of utter despair,” McQuarrie articulates.

McQuarrie and Cruise’s partnership started with the 2008 Hitler assassination drama “Valkyrie.” McQuarrie, the celebrated screenwriter of “The Usual Suspects,” was then in a metaphorical film purgatory due to his critically panned directorial debut, “The Way of the Gun.”

“When I first encountered Tom in 2006, I hadn’t directed a film in seven years,” McQuarrie admits. “I wouldn’t direct another for five more years. I had effectively discarded any ambitions of directing. I certainly never envisioned myself as an action director, much less helming four action films.”

“In ‘Dead Reckoning,’ you’ll witness the spirits of all the films I was denied the opportunity to create,” he adds.

Against all odds, McQuarrie (who is also directing the already-in-progress sequel to “Dead Reckoning”) has surfaced as the mastermind behind one of the most palpable action franchises.

In “Dead Reckoning,” Ethan Hunt squares off against a rogue artificial intelligence, a timely and fitting adversary for a film universe that places more emphasis on practical effects than CGI. McQuarrie told Cruise he aimed to extend “Mission: Impossible” beyond the cliché threat of a terrorist obtaining a lethal weapon.

“Another lesson we drew from ‘Top Gun’ was: What is the audience bringing to the movie? ‘Top Gun’ stemmed from Cold War apprehensions. In 2019, I asked Tom: What’s the prevailing concern now?” McQuarrie recalls. “What we failed to foresee was the extent of its acceleration.”

In the “Mission: Impossible” series, appearances are seldom what they seem. Hunt and his team of spies are masters of trickery. Simultaneously, McQuarrie and his team, including cinematographer Fraser Taggart, make considerable efforts to ensure the audience feels the authenticity and immersion of the scenes.

“The usual challenge is to hide the fact that it’s not the actor performing the stunts,” explains McQuarrie. “But in this case, the roles are reversed. You’re actually striving to prove that it’s indeed Tom performing the stunts.”

Taggart, who worked on the helicopter sequence in “Fallout,” reveals that he’s never collaborated with an actor as opposed to stunt doubles as Cruise — even for the most mundane shots.

“Tom won’t accept it. He outright refuses, even to the point of insisting on using his own hand for an insert shot,” Taggart shares. “Unlike most other projects, Tom insists on doing it himself.”

Just as “Top Gun: Maverick” endeavored to install as many cameras in the cockpits of fighter jets, the set-pieces of “Mission: Impossible” are orchestrated to get cameras as close to Cruise and the cast – including Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby – as possible.

For Taggart, this meant grappling with often disorienting challenges like filming a scene involving a train moving at 60 miles per hour through a rugged Scandinavian landscape under unpredictable weather conditions. He didn’t want just fixed cameras.

“So now we’ve got to involve a full camera crew, some lighting, and we’ll probably end up with 10 people strapped to the top of a train carriage, including an old-fashioned physical camera up there,” Taggart recounts. “You wonder: Can we actually get 10 people on top of a train moving at 60 miles an hour? The challenge lies in ensuring# The high-octane ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise revs up in ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning’

When it comes to action films, you’d think there were limitations after catapulting Tom Cruise from an Airbus A400M at 25,000 feet. Yet, in the adrenaline-fueled universe of “Mission: Impossible”, the ambition to exceed previous feats is ceaseless, much like the franchise’s relentless protagonist.

“After each movie, the first thing Tom utters to me is: We can raise the bar,” shares Christopher McQuarrie.

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McQuarrie, the creative mind behind the 2015’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” and the 2018 series pinnacle, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” was collaborating with Cruise on “Top Gun: Maverick ” (which McQuarrie co-wrote and co-produced). The pair started outlining their grand visions for the forthcoming “Mission: Impossible” installment.

Their aspiration was to craft two sequels in succession: Back-to-back marvels featuring more breathtaking stunts — Cruise was imagining a motorcycle jump combined with a skydive — and a grand train sequence that McQuarrie yearned to create. The astonishing success of “Maverick,” a cultural phenomenon amassing nearly $1.5 billion globally, only further fueled their dreams.

“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ gifted us crucial insights about character interplay and the film’s emotional resonance,” McQuarrie disclosed in a recent interview. “To craft films of this magnitude, the audience’s lasting impression is paramount.”

A year following the box-office triumph of “Maverick,” McQuarrie and Cruise are back with another gravity-defying spectacle. In a similar vein to “Maverick,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” showcases vintage action spectacle, with a blend of star quality, real-world effects, and breathtaking stunts that elicit gasps of “He did what?”

It was their most formidable mission yet – and not merely because Cruise, as per Paramount Pictures, undertook 500 skydives and 13,000 motocross jumps to gear up for his climactic stunt. “Dead Reckoning” was on the brink of launching production in Venice when COVID-19 cases surged in Italy, one of the early epicenters.

“Mission: Impossible” was among the initial major productions to be halted by the pandemic. Months later, Cruise and “Dead Reckoning” – a sprawling $290 million film with intricate logistics that sparked controversy over initial plans to destroy a century-old bridge in Poland – spearheaded the industry-wide initiative to resurrect the movie business during the pandemic. The already intense production reached new levels of tension. In December 2020, a leaked audio recording featured Cruise reprimanding two crew members for flouting COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“We set the bar,” Cruise declared in the recording. “Hollywood is in production again because of us. Because they have faith in us and what we’re doing.”

Despite numerous delays and detours, McQuarrie remained confident that “Dead Reckoning” would reach completion.

“We just kept pushing ahead because pausing, trying to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel, would have led to overwhelming despair,” notes McQuarrie.

McQuarrie and Cruise first collaborated on the 2008 Hitler assassination drama “Valkyrie.” McQuarrie, the celebrated scriptwriter of “The Usual Suspects,” was in the metaphorical movie doghouse for his underwhelming directorial debut, “The Way of the Gun.”

“When I met Tom in 2006, it had been seven years since I last directed a film,” says McQuarrie. “I wouldn’t direct another for five more years. I had completely abandoned my directing aspirations. I never imagined becoming an action film director, let alone helming four such films.”

“In ‘Dead Reckoning,’ the echoes of all the films I was barred from making are palpable,” he adds.

McQuarrie, also at the helm for the in-progress “Dead Reckoning” part two, has emerged as the orchestrator of one of the most visceral action series.

In “Dead Reckoning,” Ethan Hunt grapples with a rogue AI, a timely and fitting adversary for a movie franchise that leans more on practical effects than CGI. McQuarrie expressed his desire to evolve “Mission: Impossible” beyond the clichéd plot of a terrorist seizing a deadly weapon.

“Another takeaway from ‘Top Gun’ was considering what the audience brings to the film. ‘Top Gun’ was a product of Cold War anxieties. In 2019, I asked Tom: What’s the present-day anxiety?” says McQuarrie. “What we hadn’t anticipated was the pace of its escalation.”

In “Mission: Impossible,” appearances are often deceptive. While Hunt and his spy team excel at trickery, McQuarrie and his crew, including cinematographer Fraser Taggart, strive for authentic and immersive visual storytelling.

“The challenge is usually masking the actor’s absence in the action,” admits McQuarrie. “Here, it’s quite the opposite. We’re actually going to extraordinary lengths to show that Tom is really doing it.”

Taggart, the man behind the camera for the helicopter sequence in “Fallout,” says he’s never worked with an actor as staunchly opposed to stunt doubles as Cruise, even in the most mundane of shots.

“Tom won’t have it. He outright refuses, even for a close-up of a hand,” Taggart shares. “It must be him in every shot, unlike other projects. Tom insists on that.”

In the spirit of “Top Gun: Maverick” that endeavored to place as many cameras as possible in fighter jet cockpits, the set-pieces of “Mission: Impossible” are designed to get cameras as close to Cruise and the cast — including Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby — as feasible.

For Taggart, this entailed grappling with complex challenges like filming a scene involving a train speeding through a mountainous Scandinavian landscape with unpredictable weather conditions. He didn’t want merely stationary cameras.

“So now we need to bring in an entire camera crew, lighting and about 10 people strapped to the top of a train carriage, including an old-school physical camera,” explains Taggart. “You think: Can we actually get 10 people on top of a moving train? That’s the challenge because you’d like all your crew and actors to survive the shoot.”

For another scene with characters in a plummeting train cabin, they rigged camera operator, Chunky Richmond, on stunt wires, letting him dangle alongside the actors. For a nighttime pursuit through the labyrinthine alleys of Venice, one of the most complex tasks of “Dead Reckoning” due to the city’s inherent darkness, they secured access to numerous terraces and windows along the route.

For a high-speed car chase in Rome, Taggart utilized robotic arms on vehicles that were stationary yet capable of movement.

“We always experiment with technology but

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning

What is the title of the upcoming “Mission: Impossible” film?

The title of the upcoming film is “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning”.

Who is the director of the film?

The film is directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Will Tom Cruise be reprising his role in the film?

Yes, Tom Cruise will be returning as the lead actor in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

Is “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” a sequel?

Yes, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” is a sequel to the previous films in the franchise.

How has COVID-19 affected the production of the film?

The production of the film was temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, efforts were made to resume production and ensure safety protocols were followed.

Are there any notable stunts in the film?

Yes, the film is known for its thrilling stunts, with Tom Cruise performing many of them himself. The stunts aim to provide an authentic and immersive experience for the audience.

What is the budget for the film?

The film has a budget of approximately $290 million, making it a high-budget production.

When is the release date for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning”?

The specific release date for the film has not been mentioned in the provided text. Please refer to official sources or updates for the latest information on the release date.

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6 comments

cinemalover77 July 7, 2023 - 10:52 am

the behind-the-scenes challenges of this film are mind-blowing. COVID-19 causing delays and the dedication to practical effects, they’re really going all out. kudos to the team!

Reply
adrenalinejunkie July 7, 2023 - 11:48 am

i love how tom cruise does his own stunts!! he’s fearless and gives the movies such an authentic feel. gonna be on the edge of my seat watching this one.

Reply
actionguru July 7, 2023 - 12:48 pm

mission: impossible – dead reckonin’ gonna be the action event of the year! mcquarrie and cruise are an unbeatable combo. can’t wait to have my mind blown!

Reply
movieFan94 July 7, 2023 - 8:15 pm

omg cant wait for the new mission: impossible movie!! tom cruise is such a legend!! hope the stunts are as awesome as always

Reply
actionlover23 July 7, 2023 - 11:45 pm

mission: impossible is da best action franchise everrrrr! christopher mcquarrie is a genius director and tom cruise rocks!!

Reply
filmgeek101 July 8, 2023 - 2:16 am

wow, $290 mill budget for the new movie?? that’s insane! better be worth every penny. can’t wait to see the practical effects and intense action scenes!

Reply

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